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MiR-31 Ablates Expression Of The HIF Regulatory Factor FIH To Activate The HIF Pathway In Head And Neck Carcinoma.

Chung-Ji Liu, Meng-Miao Tsai, Pei-Shih Hung, S. Kao, T. Liu, K. Wu, S. Chiou, Shu-Chun Lin, K. Chang
Published 2010 · Medicine, Biology
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MicroRNAs (miRNA) are endogenously expressed noncoding RNAs with important biological and pathological functions that are yet to be fully defined. This study investigated alterations in miRNA expression in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), the incidence of which is rising throughout the world. Initial screening and subsequent analysis identified a panel of aberrantly expressed miRNAs in HNSCC tissues, with miR-31 among the most markedly upregulated. Ectopic expression of miR-31 increased the oncogenic potential of HNSCC cells under normoxic conditions in cell culture or tumor xenografts. Conversely, blocking miR-31 expression reduced the growth of tumor xenografts. The in silico analysis suggested that miR-31 may target the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of factor-inhibiting hypoxia-inducible factor (FIH), a hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) regulatory factor that inhibits the ability of HIF to act as a transcriptional regulator under normoxic conditions. In support of this likelihood, miR-31 expression repressed FIH expression and mutations within the predictive miR-31 target site in the FIH 3' UTR abrogated FIH repression. Furthermore, miR-31 expression increased HIF transactivation activity. We found that FIH suppressed oncogenic phenotypes under normoxic conditions and that this activity was abrogated by functional mutations. Lastly, increased miR-31 expression was correlated with decreased levels of FIH in tumor tissues. Our findings suggest that miR-31 contributes to the development of HNSCC by impeding FIH to activate HIF under normoxic conditions.
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